Paralegals, or now more commonly referred to as nonlawyer legal professionals, are one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. It offers a wide variety of opportunities for both personal and career development in the legal field, ranging from the traditional law office environment to commercial companies and government agencies.
What is a nonlawyer legal professional?
The terms paralegal, legal assistant, and nonlawyer legal professional are interchangeable. In alignment with the Massachusetts chapter of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), our undergraduate law program uses the term nonlawyer legal professional during instruction.
Nonlawyer legal professionals are not licensed to practice law independently but work as valued members of legal teams under the supervision of one or more attorneys. Typical responsibilities include:
- Drafting legal documents
- Tracking important deadlines
- Assisting attorneys in preparing for trial
- Interviewing clients and witnesses
- Conducting legal investigations and legal research
- Organizing and maintaining client files
- Coordinating litigation proceedings
- Utilizing computers, technology, and specialized software to perform tasks
Why study paralegal studies and become a nonlawyer legal professional?
California is the only state that requires a nonlawyer legal professional to meet a minimum educational requirement to work. In other states, employers determine the level of education they require to hire a candidate and sometimes select only graduates from well-established programs like ours. By earning a certificate or associate degree in Paralegal Studies from Suffolk, you’ll demonstrate to employers that you have a strong foundation in the law, as well as a mastery of legal writing, research, and other in-demand skills.
Please note that both our Paralegal Studies Certificate and Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies are educational programs, not professional certification programs. There is no national or state certification or licensure required to work as a nonlawyer legal professional, though many states offer voluntary certification programs you can take to further demonstrate your skillset and standout on the job market.